With Kemar Roofe and Patrick Bamford both missing ahead of this weekend’s daunting trip to Millwall, plenty of Leeds United fans have been left cursing the club’s failure to bring in further attacking reinforcements during the summer transfer window. But Marcelo Bielsa’s side are looking rather light at the back, too.
Pontus Jansson and Liam Cooper are Leeds’ only natural and experienced centre-backs with Luke Ayling and Gaetano Berardi both forced to fill in this season.
If Leeds are serious about mounting a promotion challenge over the next 40 games, Bielsa and Victor Orta should perhaps already be planning to add some much needed depth to a rather small squad in the New Year.
The current Championship leaders, then, should keep a close eye on Jake Cooper during the game in the Lions’ Den on Saturday afternoon.
The 23-year-old has blossomed into one of the division’s most underrated centre-backs since his move from Reading to Millwall in 2017. And, if he continues his excellent form against Leeds, the West Yorkshire giants should place Cooper right at the top of their wish list.
After all, the England U20 giant is precisely the kind of player who would add some much needed competition at the back, providing power, aerial strength and plenty of potential. Bielsa is arguably the perfect manager to help promising talents like Cooper fulfil their potential.
Given that Millwall reportedly rejected a £3 million bid from Rangers this summer, however, Leeds would have to splash out again like they did when signing Bamford and Barry Douglas.